Cape Town - When an American citizen met a Cape Town woman on Craigslist, an international classified website, he thought he had found love, and travelled 13 000kms across the Atlantic Ocean to meet her.
Little did Michael Morgan, 67, of North Carolina realise he was a victim of catfishing and that his true love did not exist.
Michael arrived at Cape Town International Airport last Tuesday to meet Caryl Jones, a 35-year-old nurse working at Groote Schuur Hospital and who claimed she had recently inherited $12 million (about R140 million) from her diamond baron dad.
But after waiting at the airport for more than an hour and then going to Caryl’s Vredehoek home and then her workplace, Michael realised he had been duped.
The retired divorcee works part-time at a pharmaceutical factory, and placed a personal ad on Craigslist in December 2017.
He met Caryl the following month and they started chatting via email and text messages. After exchanging photos, they also called each other.
He says Caryl claimed to be a nurse working at an exchange programme at Groote Schuur, and that she was a British citizen whose parents were living in Cape Town.
She told him her father had died and that her mother was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
“She was going to come to me, but claimed she could not fly over to the US because her mother told her she had inherited $12 million from her dad,” Michael explains.
“She claimed her father worked in the diamond industry. She said she attempted to travel with the money, but that she had been stopped by customs. She said she needed a passport which cost $44 000, and that she needed R7000 to get it.”
He then decided to fly to South Africa to save his lady love.
“I gave her my flight itinerary and she knew I would be wearing a cowboy hat and a sweater saying ‘big daddy’. But when I got there, she was not there.
“I got myself a South African cellphone number and told her where I was staying and even called her.
“On Wednesday, I took a taxi to the address which she said was her home, 27 Clifford Avenue, Vredehoek. But there was no number 27 in that road.
“Then we drove past Groote Schuur and I told the taxi to stop. I went to administration and asked if they have a Caryl Jones on their staff listing.
“They hesitated at first, but later told me there was no one there with that name and said that love was truly blind.”
Michael says he was very disappointed when he realised he’d been floused: “I spent $900 for my flight here and $800 for the flight home, I also spent $300 for taxi services and hotel fees.
“My colleagues at home warned about catfish and now I want to warn others. Skype with the person and check their background first.”
On Friday, the Daily Voice contacted “Caryl” via the email address Michael used, but did not receive any response by yesterday.
Michael left South Africa on Sunday and says despite his heartbreak, Cape Town was a “perfect holiday destination”.